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Friar Joe Nangle — the Face of Pax Christi in Videos & Photo

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Featured in two YouTube videos and in a photo in the newsletter of Pax Christi USA, Joseph Nangle, OFM, serves as an ambassador of peace for the organization.

He recently appeared in a photograph in the Pax Christi September newsletter and is a spokesman for the group in two videos recently posted on YouTube.

The videos, each featuring Joe, decry the war in Iraq and speak out against racial discrimination in the presidential election.

“Pax Christi represents one of the best expressions of Catholic social teaching in action,” said Joe, “principally lay women and men who put into practice the call of our Church to participate in the transformation of the world.”

Spreading the Message the Modern Way
Both of the 20-second spots, which also aired on TV, identify Joe as a priest for more than 50 years. They remind viewers of the Church’s opposition to the war in Iraq and to racism.

In “Father Joe on the War,” he says, “In a time when our economy is in shambles, we are still spending $10 billion a month on this tragic war in Iraq, and it was all so unnecessary. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as they told us … Pope John Paul II called the war a defeat for humanity. This is what I tell my parishioners, this is what we must tell our national leaders.”

In “Father Joe on Keeping Racism out of the Election,” he recalls that “there was a time when Catholics were discriminated against and not treated fairly in this country. … Discrimination and racism are wrong then and wrong now. Vote for candidates based on policy and not for their race.”

Announcement of the videos was recently distributed to churches and ministries via email with a link to YouTube. The email said: “Our nation is at a crossroads. As you work to further the common good in our nation and world, we want to offer you this exciting opportunity: Over the next two weeks, help Pax Christi USA send a clear and prophetic message to Catholics and other voters regarding war and racism, by supporting our first-ever TV issue ads.”

“Our economy is in a shambles. The Iraq war receives little attention. And racism plagues our national electoral dialogue. Like you, Pax Christi USA has been working to raise an educated and conscientious voice in voting for the common good among Catholics, Christians and people of faith across the nation. In these last few weeks, we are focusing on the tragedy of the ongoing Iraq war, and reminding Catholics across this nation that racism has no place in a conscientious heart or a polling booth.”

In the September ’08 newsletter, Joe appears in a photo taken at the “Time to Talk with Iran” event that took place in Washington last spring, organized by the Campaign for a New AmericaPolicy on Iran and the Enough Fear Campaign.

Joe was photographed talking on the phone with an Iranian citizen. Joe joined U.S. Reps. Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey, Ron Paul, Sheila-Jackson-Lee and others, who manned phones to speak with Iranian citizens.

Long-time Advocate
Joe said in the Pax Christi newsletter: “As one of the faith groups supporting this campaign, Pax Christi believes that we are all called to dialogue and reconciliation, not confrontation and obliteration. I see real hope for a new and productive direction in our relations with our brothers and sisters in Iran.”

For the past 15 years, Joe has been very active with Pax Christi USA, an international, a non-profit, non-governmental Catholic peace movement working on a global scale on a wide variety of issues in the fields of human rights, human security, disarmament and demilitarization, just world order and religion and violent conflict. He was the ambassador of peace at the organization’s annual assembly in 2006.

He described his involvement, with all levels of the organization, in a note to HNP Today: “First, with Pax Christi-Metro DC, our local group, and then as a council member of Pax Christi-USA from about 1990 to 1993. I only took one term at the national level due to time pressures at Franciscan Mission Service, and in order to devote more time to our Washington, D.C., group. I was designated an ambassador of peace at its annual assembly in July 2006. Finally, last October, I was part of a Pax Christi-USA delegation to Belgium for the Pax Christi International Assembly.”

Joe, who ministers at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Arlington, Va., said that he finds the organization to be very mainstream. “What I find most intriguing about Pax Christi at every level, is how mainstream Catholic Pax Christi really is. We are literally people from the pews, albeit the progressive side of the pews.”